For the Dough
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling
1/4 cup walnuts, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder, or 60z chopped chocolate chips instead
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons raspberry preserves or strawberry jam, divided in three
powdered sugar (for dusting after baking)
To make the dough, cream together the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth, and then mix in the vanilla extract and sugar. Mix in half the flour on low speed, and then mix in the other half. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead for about 10 seconds, just to ensure that everything has been incorporated together. Divide the dough into three parts, forming each part into a 1-inch disk (circular chunk). Wrap the disks in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
To prepare the filling, in a small bowl, combine the walnuts, sugar, light brown sugar, cocoa powder/chocolate, and cinnamon, and set aside.
To assemble the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (I preheated to 325 degrees F instead), and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Remove the disks of dough from the refrigerator, and allow them to warm up a bit. Once the disks have loosened up a bit, on a lightly floured work surface, roll one of the disks of dough out into circle that is about 1/8-inch thick, and 14 inches in diameter.
Spread two tablespoons of the raspberry/strawberry preserves around the surface of the circle of dough, leaving about an inch around the outside edge, and a 2-inch circle in the center (I added spread to the center of the circle, and it turned out fine).
Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top of the raspberry/strawberry preserves.
With a pizza cutter or a butter knife, cut the dough into quarters, and then cut each quarter into 3 wedges, so that there are 12 wedges in total. Carefully slide out one of the wedges from the circle, and beginning at the wide end, tuck in the corners about 1/4 inch, and then gently roll in towards the center. Try to get as little filling on the outside of the cookies as possible, otherwise the filling will burn as the cookies bake. Repeat with the remaining wedges and disks of dough.
Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart form each other. Curve the ends of the cookies in towards the center, to make a slight crescent shape. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets, and then dust lightly with powdered sugar. Enjoy!
Rugelach (pronounced roo-gah-lah, unless you can add the heavy ach accent at the end) is a Jewish pastry. I’m not Jewish, but these are delicious! I had never heard of them until my cousin (not Jewish either) made them years ago. Seeing how cute they looked, I decided to try making some myself. Essentially, you can add any filling, as long as it’s a thin layer. The most difficult part is avoiding too much filling to leak out of the cookies while rolling them. They will get burnt indeed. Otherwise, this recipe is not too difficult, just messy/time-consuming (depending on how much effort you make to keep everything clean, or on how much of a perfectionist you are). These were a big hit amongst friends, family, and coworkers. I discovered that one of the people who sampled my rugelach is Jewish, and he said it was amazing, especially the filling! If I get a compliment from a Jewish person, that must mean I’ve made them correctly, right? 🙂